Recently in Italian: My Homework
With summer’s loose and lazy schedule, I have not been as committed to Italiano as I would like, which makes me anxious as I’m preparing to host cugini (cousins) very soon! Still, in the last few weeks, I have found some fun new ways to practice Italian.
Su Internet / On Line
Italy Magazine Dual Language articles: Long a fan of Italy Magazine, I have lately been enjoying their language learning section. I really like the dual language articles, where you can easily click between the English and Italian texts, and there is an audio file to hear the article in Italian (hint: the articles on page two seem to have the accompanying audio). I listen to one paragraph at a time, in Italian first, then I read the paragraph in English to see if I’ve gotten the gist of it. Articles feature different topics relating to some aspect of Italian life, so you will get to know Italian culture and language. Bonus!
Dante-Learning: A fantastic online school where native speakers in Italy will teach you Italian via Skype. Try a lesson for free, which is what I did (grazie a Riccardo!) and I really like the format and one-on-one interaction. I am planning to sign up for a package of lessons, quando i bimbi tornano a scuola…when the kids go back to school.
Bitesized Languages Match Mania game: a fun and easy way to learn some new nouns related to the calendar, home and parts of the body. There are several languages to try if you’re interested. I also like receiving a daily email from Bitesized Languages, which you can sign up for on their website. I receive one email in Italian and another in French (to see if I can remember any from four years of high school French). They are the same daily words no matter the language, which is useful.
About.Com Italian Hand Gestures: a helpful resource complete with illustrations. Click over and check it out, I love the cartoons! You will want some hand gestures in your vocabulary when speaking Italian. 🙂
I Libri / Books
Mangia Prega Ama: Eat Pray Love, is a favorite of mine for years. I am slowly reading through its Italian counterpart, which I bought from a sweet little bookstore in Rome vicino alla Piazza Navona (close to Piazza Navona). It’s a difficult read in another language, but very familiar to me in English. I’m going through it slowly, with my tattered English copy alongside. At this rate, it will take me years to complete, but it’s a joyful challenge.
Le mie prime parole inglese: (My First English Words), an illustrated book for Italian children learning English. Somehow I found this little used book in at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles (details on this scrumptious experience for another post). I highly recommend children’s books as a learning resource, they are simple and appealing, and not intimidating for new learners. These words tickled my ears: calcolatrice, cocodrillo.
Practice Makes Perfect Complete Italian Grammar: Still studying pronouns (pages 67-68), their elusiveness best explained by Dianne Hales in La Bella Lingua, “with even greater effort I struggled to corral (Italian’s) impish pronouns, which flit from the front to the back of sentences, disappear entirely, or latch on to verbs like fleas to a cat’s ear.”
Altro / Other: I also had fun exchanging Facebook messages with an Italian friend, and emailing back and forth in Italian with a fluent American friend. I especially love when I can just type my messages in Italian without using Google translate AND get my point across. If only I could do that during a face-to-face conversation….
Every day, I check these sites, which feature a new word and phrase: Parola del Giorno,Transparent Language and Italian for my Girlfriend. One of these days I’ll get in the habit of making a flash card for each word and reviewing it enough so that it will nest in my brain. I’ve heard that you need to see a new word 162 times before it sticks….Another blog which I read faithfully is Dianne Hales’ Becoming Italian Word by Word. This summer she’s doing an “Italian-to-Go” series, which focuses on helpful insights, tips and phrases for travelers to Italy.
I also try to listen to spoken Italian every day via YouTube. My favorite channels are Learn Italian with Lucrezia and Italian with Melissa la Studentessa Matta. There’s also Radio Italy Live and Think Italian(subscription required but worthwhile).
Buon divertimento, (have fun!) wherever you are at in your language studies. In bocca al lupo! (good luck)
This post first appeared on Prayers and Piazzas.